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Thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from Sask. school

A band councillor at a First Nation in northwest Saskatchewan is calling a school robbery a 'senseless and just idiotic crime' after 100 iPads and 80 laptops were stolen a weekend before the semester starts.

100 iPads and 80 Chromebooks were stolen, surveillance equipment damaged

Fiddler said 100 iPads and 80 Chromebooks were stolen from the school, and wires for the surveillance system cut. (Nathan Lambrecht/Canadian Press)

A band councillor is condemning a large theft as a "stupid and just idiotic crime" after someone broke into the school on the Waterhen Lake First Nation and stole 180 tablets and laptops over the weekend.

Coun. Dustin Ross Fiddler said he first heard the news on Monday morning, and estimated the value of the stolen electronics at about $80,000.

"It's not the best news to come into on a Monday morning. The first that I [felt] was outrage and I was very disheartened," Fiddler said, referring to the stolen goods as an investment in the community's youth.

Fiddler said the purchase of 100 iPads and 80 Chromebook laptops was in the plans for more than a year, with budget planning and funds being pooled from different programs to make the purchase.

Fiddler said whoever is responsible damaged security cameras, knew where to cut wires to the surveillance system and knew where the new equipment had been stored. 

With the semester getting into full swing Aug. 28, Fiddler said students were shocked and felt defeated. There are no immediate plans to replace them by then. 

"It's a big loss for them. It's a big loss for the community," he said.

The equipment was going to be used for students as educational purposes to work on reading and math skills.

"Having talked with our principal, he said that the biggest effect this year will be that these [reading, writing and math] levels that we had anticipated to increase academically, we're going to see them suffer," Fiddler said. 

The school does have older tablets and laptops on hand, about 80 to 100, but will have to be used by about 250 students within the school. The principal of the school said while the educational equipment has taken a heavy hit, the teachers are still there, according to Fiddler.

A cash reward is being offered for any information on the heist and can be relayed to the Waterhen Lake band office or the Meadow Lake RCMP, Fiddler said. 

The investigation is ongoing.

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition